Dallas Homeowners Fight to Begin Rebuilding Months After October Tornado

Some Dallas homeowners face frustrations waiting on insurance checks two months after an EF-3 tornado

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It’s been almost two months since an EF-3 tornado ripped through Dallas. Still, some homeowners say it could be months, or even a year, before they can begin rebuilding.

Beth Mazziotta said she and her husband were in the living room of their Royal Lane home watching the Cowboys game on Oct. 20 when the tornado struck.

When their phones began to buzz with an alert, the couple rushed to a central closet where they endured what felt like minutes of feeling like their house might explode.

When it passed, they walked out of the closet to find their home of 19 years littered with debris including shards of glass from windows that had shattered.

“We felt like our bodies were expanding the size of a hot air balloon, and I looked at my husband and said we’re going to die,” said Beth Mazziotta, of riding out an EF-3 tornado in her closet with her husband.

Their driveway was blocked by part of their neighbor’s home and their street was impassable.

Still as terrifying as those first 72 hours were, Mazziotta said she could’ve never imagined the challenges to come would be worse.

“There were days you just walked in and tears just ran down from my eyes, or I couldn’t even talk to a friend, or I couldn’t even look at my husband,” said Mazziotta.

Though she had her insurance agent on the phone just 15 minutes after the storm, she’s spent the better part of two months fighting for full coverage of necessary repairs.

During the storm, Mazziotta said her roof was pulled up. That left behind cracks and shifting all throughout the house, which will require contractors to tear the home down to the studs.

In total, Mazziota said it will take more than $1 million to get her home back to where it was before the storm struck.

Though she was pleased with the insurance adjuster assigned to her case, she said there was only so much he could do to help when it came to getting her the full amount.

“We couldn’t do it. We didn’t know what to do. It became extremely frustrating and they’re, I hate to say it, they’re in the business to make money. They’re not in the business to pay claims,” said Mazziotta.

Beth Mazziotta shows off damage in her kitchen after an EF-3 tornado struck her home in October 2019.

That’s why she, along with several of her hard-hit neighbors, ended up hiring their own adjusters, public adjusters, who would fight the insurance company on the homeowner’s behalf to get the claim paid and maxed out.

It proved successful, but it also cost her $30,000.

“I don’t think anyone should have to do that,” said Mazziotta.

Though she’d love to be back home within nine months after the storm, Mazziotta believes it will more likely take 12 to 16 months just to begin repairs.

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